Posts Tagged With: Doppelbock

GUEST POST: Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

Beer: Celebrator
Brewery: Brauerei Aying
Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 6.7%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Tulip glass
Drinking Establishment: Stuff Yer Face, New Brunswick, NJ
Primary Consumer: Jon
Guest Reviewer Qualifications: He knows the difference between a boli and a beer.

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Deep mahogany color with a thick beige head.

Scent: A malty aroma of brown sugar, like that of caramel or molasses.  Also, some dark fruits.

Flavor: DELICIOUS.

Feel: Smooth, with a light mouthfeel.

Concluding remarksThis malty Bock gives you a gift even before you open the bottle–it comes with a little charm dangling from the neck.  Lesser beers would use this charm as a distraction from the actual brew, but instead this draws you in.  You get the idea that this beer will be a little special–like getting the Cracker Jack prize before you open the box.  Well, once opened, it doesn’t disappoint.  The mahogany coloring of the beer provokes you with thoughts of a dark velvet taste.  Tasting reveals a sweet, but not heavy, deliciousness that leaves a wonderful lacing after finishing.  You’ll want another.

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THANK YOU, JON!  You were lucky enough to review the only Bock that got a 5 Pint Glass rating.  We’re all very jealous–but mostly because none of the beers we tried this month came with a little plastic goat charm.

We are always looking for interested and interesting beer consumers to review a brew we might not have seen or had time to review in the month. Let us know if you’d like to contribute something, in exchange for internet fame, a line on your resume, an unpaid internship, a free ride, a huge tax rebate, a happy ending, and everything else everyone else has promised you in life. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.  Email us at wunderassn@gmail.com!

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Samuel Adams Cinder Bock

Beer:  Cinder Bock
Brewery: Samuel Adams / Boston Brewing Company
Style: Rauch Doppelbock
ABV: 9.4%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s apartment
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:


Sight: Dark burnt orange body with a thick, beige, frothy head. Thick lacing lingers on the glass.

Smell: For trying to be a smoked beer, there is only a faint hint of smoked ham. Other smells include overripe fruits and alcohol esters (no surprise considering the high ABV). Final note is cheap Oscar Mayer processed meat.

Flavor: The overall taste is sweet caramel with a slight smokiness. Well, no, not smoke, just cheap meats, akin to those mentioned above. There is a sharp bitterness at the end due to the inclusion of Noble hops.

Feel: Thin to medium body with low carbonation. It is slightly oily and there is a very distinct heat from the alcohol.

Concluding Remarks: Samuel Adams’s Cinder Bock is better as a pun than as a beer. (Cinder Bock…cinder block…plus, it’s smoked…GET IT?) While I know that Rauchbiers (German for “smoked beer”) are not up everyone’s proverbial beer alley, I happen to love them. Like, really love them. So, I might be judging Sam Adams’s offering a bit too critically. The Cinder Bock might actually be perfect for those who only want a little ham in their beer. But I doubt it.

We could discuss just how much smoked meat flavor should be in a Rauchbier all day, but at the end of this day, the Cinder Bock is a confused beer. I want to excuse its schizophrenia for the insanely high ABV (at 9.4%, this is our second most alcoholic Bock this month–the Aventinus Eisbock coming in at top billing), but…I can’t. It’s just too weird.

I recently rewatched a number of Arrested Development episodes, and as I finish this beer, all I can think of is Lindsay Fünke’s hot ham water. The Cinder Bock tastes like said ham water, but cold, and spiked with some bottom-shelf vodka in Lucille’s back-up liquor cabinet. Translation: this tastes like ham water with vodka.


Sam Adams calls it a “roguish brew,” but this style is nothing new, as our review of the Schlenkerla goes to show. I really do appreciate their ballsy attempt at a rauch Doppelbock, a difficult brew to mass market as not everyone appreciates their beer with a side of ham (or in this case, bologna). While it is a noble effort (yes I’m making a hops pun), it doesn’t quite work. It is a complex cluster-f of bitter, sweet, smoke, and liquor. Clearly these are all excellent flavors, but the balance is just off. The potential is there, but it’s just too alcoholic (am I really saying this?) and doesn’t deliver on the promise of smoke. Sigh.

The label says this is Batch Number One; maybe Sam will get it right on try Nummer Zwei.

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TYIB REVIEW OFF: Troegenator Double Bock

What happens when Get Blitzed Day rolls around and the ladies at The Year in Beer both want to get blitzed on the same brew?  Well, a TYIB Review Off, of course!  Read on to get a double review of this Double Bock from Pennyslvania-based brewery Tröegs.

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REVIEW OFF: THE BEER

Beer:  Troegenator
Brewery: Tröegs Brewing Company
Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 8.2%

REVIEW OFF: CONTESTANT 1, ALLY

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Tulip glass
Drinking Establishment: Stuff Yer Face, New Brunswick, NJ
Primary Consumer: Ally

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Dark amber, like maple syrup.  Foamy white head that recedes quickly.

Scent: Sweet malts, with notes of figs and raisins.

Flavor: Malty sweetness balanced with bitter hops, with some citrus zest, raisins, and other dried fruit flavors lingering in there as well.

Feel:  Rich, crisp, with moderate carbonation.

Concluding remarks:  Chocolate isn’t the only amazing edible being produced in Hershey, Pennsylvania; Tröegs Brewing Company is releasing some pretty great brews that rank highly on the Pint Glass Scale–not least among them their version of the Doppelbock.  Winner of many a medal at the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup, the Troegenator is a well-balanced Bock that lives up to the monastic tradition of being “liquid bread.”  It’s a substantial beer, but very drinkable, and the bitter hops and sweet malts complement each other nicely.

REVIEW OFF: CONTESTANT 2, KERENSA

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Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s kitchen
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Murky, dark mahogany body with no head.

Scent: Sweet dark pumpernickel bread with a bit of raisins and a lingering note of alcohol.

Flavor: The ‘Nator tastes like liquid creme brûlée bread pudding. (Now if only that existed in food form.) There is a very slight smoke presence, too.

Feel: Thin body with little carbonation. It feels warm from the alcohol content.

Concluding remarks:  This is the best Doppelbock I’ve had this month. As there is little carbonation, the complex yet balanced flavor takes the spotlight. The alcohol note is hidden in taste, but you’ll feel Tröegs’s brew in your cheeks. All in all, this Bock is exceptionally delicious.

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Paulaner Salvator


Beer:  Salvator Double Bock
Brewery: Paulaner Brauerei
Style:
Doppelbock
ABV: 7.9%

 Serving Style: Draft
Glassware: Stein
Drinking Establishment: Austro-Hungarian Pilsner Haus, Hoboken, NJ
Primary Consumer: Kerensa
Secondary Consumer(s): Suzy

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Dark, cloudy amber body with a fluffy beige head that quickly recedes to a one-centimeter brim.

Scent: Noticeable alcohol, estery note. Traces of licorice, overripe fruit, spice, and pine. It kind of smells like a combination of a sweet Portuguese bun and the (Black) Forest?

Flavor: It tastes like sweet bread and those caramel square candies. There is a spicy aftertaste.

Feel: Creamy body with moderate carbonation.

Concluding Remarks: Paulaner’s Salvator was the first Doppelbock, according to legend. While I have had few Doppelbocks this month that have been better than this…there have been some. But, Paulaner’s original was a fantastic foundation from which to improve upon. It’s pretty much the equivalent of beer candy. Quite enjoyable, but I would recommend drinking alongside a savory, salty treat in order to balance the Doppelbock’s sweetness.

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Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche Doppelbock

Beer:  Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche
Brewery: Schlenkerla
Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 8.0%

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 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s kitchen
Primary Consumer(s): Ally & Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Cloudy light amber/deep golden body.  Two finger off-white fluffy head, with some tiny carbonation bubbles near the bottom of the glass.

Scent: Bright floral for half a second, then…bacon! Well, actually, Ally, the resident vegetarian, thought it was more like smoked tempeh–or, at least, like liquid smoke.  But then it began to remind us not of bacon (or bacon-like products), but of kielbasa…so, we asked resident expert Pole, Kerensa’s roommate Kat, and she confirmed: smoked kielbasa! Or, in general, it smells like a Polish deli.

Flavor: The taste is less of kielbasa and meat, and more like hickory.  Very sweet like a Doppelbock would be, with a bit of hops, and an endnote of smoked wood–like food grilled over hickory.  This smokiness disappears as you drink more–it ends up blending together with the sweetness.

Feel:  Crisp, thin-to-medium mouthfeel, with moderate carbonation.

Concluding remarks: This German brew–the Schlenkerla “Oak Smoke”–is, simply put, a good Doppelbock + smoke.  It has what Kerensa refers to as “shock value”: if you tell a friend you’re going to buy them a good German beer, he or she will definitely be surprised by this smoky wonder.  But the smoked flavor isn’t artificial or off-putting in the least.  It’s a beer made for a summer barbecue (maybe because it tastes like a summer barbecue?) and would pair well with some hearty German bread and meat.  Drink it nice and cold.

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Ramstein Doppelbock

Beer:  Doppelbock
Brewery: High Point Brewing Company
Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 9.5%

 Serving Style: Draft
Glassware: Tulip glass
Drinking Establishment: The Old Bay, New Brunswick, NJ
Primary Consumer: Ally

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Dark and opaque, with a thick, creamy tan head that recedes but leaves some lacing.

Scent: No overtly discernible scent.  Maybe that of apple cider–but very mild.

Flavor: Very dynamic–apple cider and caramel are the most noted, but there is a slight spice (clove, particularly) in there as well.

Feel:  On the thick side, with moderate carbonation.

Concluding remarks: High Point is a New Jersey-based brewery, but its founder, Greg Zaccardi, actually worked as a brewer in southern Germany–so he knows what he’s doing when it comes to German beers.  In fact, he uses a special brewer’s yeast that is used exclusively by only a small brewery in Bavaria–and by High Point.  Thus, their Ramstein Doppelbock (the strongest High Point beer) is pretty darn authentic.  It’s complex–sweet, but spicy, kind of like the beer version of mulled wine–perfect for a winter night, or a cold, rainy April day.

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Weltenburger Kloster Asam Bock

Beer:  Asam Bock
Brewery: Weltenburger Kloster
Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 6.9%

 Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Pilsner glass
Drinking Establishment: Kerensa’s apartment
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Dull, dark brown body with a huge, frothy, bubbly beige head that vanishes quickly.

Scent: Sweet, overripe raisins doused with caramel sauce.

Flavor: Milky, sweet malt taste. No disrespect, Weltenburger, but this tastes like a ‘I’m trying too hard to be a dark lager’ lager. What should be subtle flavors are instead in-your-face and make this obscure German beer hard to finish.

Feel:  Light-to-medium mouthfeel.  The carbonation is spot-on.

Concluding remarks: What the H is an Asam Bock and what the F is it doing in my Bock line-up? [The answer, I realize, is 1) a Doppelbock and 2) I am reviewing all Bocks this month, including Doppelbocks.] But this tastes nothing like any of the other Bocks I have tried this month, and not in a good way. I am going to start a petition to have Weltenburger remove ‘Bock’ from its label. It can keep Asam, sure, that’s great. But don’t you dare ruin my Bock, brewery that has been around for almost a thousand years! Clearly I am right and you are wrong!

Editor’s note (and by Editor, I mean the author 10 minutes after finishing the beer): Okay, so I’ve done some research, and I’ll admit that I have been reviewing regular ol’ Bocks this month. This here Asam is my first Doppelbock of the month. It seems as though the cloying sweetness is part of the Doppelbock profile. While I cannot attest to this yet, I will agree to try this beer again after reviewing a handful of Doppelbocks. It’s only fair.

Oh, and for the record, “Asam” refers to Cosmas Damian Asam. I knew that sounded familiar; he was a German Baroque painter who painted a number of religious-themed frescoes in Italian churches–thanks Rutgers’ Art History program! Also, Cosmas’s face is found on the label of this beer. Clearly I should’ve realized this, but clearly I was also too excited to dive in…

Pentecost, 1720, Aldersbach

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Hirschbräu Doppel-Hirsch

Beer:  Doppel-hirsch
Brewery: Der Hirschbräu
Style: Doppelbock
ABV: 7.2%

Serving Style: Bottle
Glassware: Flute
Primary Consumer: Ally
Consumption Companion: Wayne, Ally’s father

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Clear dark amber, with a 1-inch thick, creamy, light beige head that settles to about 1/4 of an inch.  Carbonation bubbles are seen throughout.

Scent: Sweet malts, with notes of maple and caramel.

Flavor: There is an artificial sweetness upon first sip.  You taste the malts (in the form of caramel) that are present in the aroma, but no maple.  A hint of yeast is also noticeable.

Feel:  Thin, almost watery, with a dry aftertaste.  Low-to-moderate carbonation.

Concluding remarks:  Surprisingly, the Hirschbräu Doppel-hirsch, which is straight outta Germany, is weak–uncharacteristic of the usually rich Doppelbock.  In fact, I would liken this to a cheap beer of the poor college keg variety.  It also leaves a strange film on the teeth and roof of one’s mouth.  All in all, not the most pleasant drinking experience; in fact, Wayne didn’t even finish his glass, which is the telltale sign of a lackluster brew.

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Ein Bock, Dopplebock, Maibock, und mehr!

To celebrate the coming of spring, we are taking a trip to the Vaterland of Bier…Deutschland! While Germany has become synonymous with Oktoberfest, Hefeweizens, biergartens, and the future of the Eurozone, our favorite bierlande has more to offer than wheat beer and festivals (though who could possibly need more than that?) Thus, we turn our attention to the lesser-known Bock, a malty lager from the small city of Einbeck.

North-South Translation

While most popular German beer was developed in Bavaria (a state in southern Germany), the Bock has its roots in Einbeck, a small medieval city in the northern state of Lower Saxony. During the 13th century, Einbeck had a hold on the ale manufacturing market. The beer produced in Einbeck was exported all over the world through the Hanseatic League. Like many other beers-en-route, the ale made by Einbeck brewers was extra strong to endure lengthy journeys. The Dukes of Bavaria, upon reception of the Einbecker ale, were so enamored with the strong ale that they eventually developed their own recipe so that they could produce it in their own courts in Munich. After the dissolution of the Hanseatic League after the Thirty Years War in the 17th century, the shipping routes from Einbeck were closed and production slowed. But back in Bavaria, in order to make sure the recipe was as close to the Einbeck original as possible,  Duke Maximillian employed the services of Einbecker brewmaster Elias Pichler to oversee its production in the newly constructed Hofbräuhaus. The first Munich Einbeck beer was tapped in 1612.

The Bock travels South.

There was a major difference between the northern and southern recipes, though. While the Einbecker had been brewed with a top-fermenting ale yeast, the only yeast available in Munich was a bottom-fermenting lager yeast. Thus, the Bavarianization of the original Einbeck brew transformed the beer from an ale to a lager.

The Naming of the Bock

Bock, bock, oh where for art thou name from? And why are there always so many goats on your labels? Well, there are a few cute explanations. One theory is that it was brewed during the Capricorn sign (the zodiac symbol of the sea-goat). However, the most accepted origin is that in Munich, people looking for a beer from Einbeck would ask for “Ein Bock” (which means “goat” in German).

Goat Beer.

Style

The Traditional Bock is a strong lager, with an ABV at over 6.5%. It has a complex, toasty maltiness with a very slight hop presence. The malts, usually Munich and Vienna malts, tend to manifest in a sweet caramel taste with no roasted or burnt note.

Types

There are a number of substyles that have emerged over the years:

Doppelbock: While the Bock was consumed for purposes of pleasure, a similar style was also brewed by the Munich monks of St. Francis of Paula during periods of fasting (e.g. Lent and Christmas) in order to sustain them. When the Paulaner beer (still available today as the Salvator) was inevitably made available to the public on April 2, 1751 (the celebration of St. Francis of Paula), they had sworn they had tried it before…it tasted just like the Ein Bock! They called this the Doppelbock instead and it understandably became associated with Lent. However, under Napoleon, a creed was instituted that separated church and state; thus, the Church was unable to engage in commerce, and the production of Paulaner beer came to an end. However, in 1806, the owner of another Munich brewery rented the Paulaner facility and, in 1830, decided to return the Salvator recipe from its Napoleonic demise. It was released to celebrate the arrival of Lent. While no fasting was involved, a helluva lot of Doppelbock drinking was.

Wanting to get in on the Doppelbock action, other Munich brauhauses developed their own versions of the Salvator. However, Paulaner got a trademark patent on the name Salvator, so other breweries developed other “-ator” names, such as the Celebrator, Maximator, and Triumphator.

The Doppelbock is usually richer, drier, and hoppier. It has a little bit of a roasted and chocolate note and a higher ABV at 6-9%.

Maibock/Hellesbock: While there is not a general consensus if Maibocks and Hellesbocks are the same, the brews are nevertheless similar: both are paler, clearer versions of the Bock, with less maltiness and more hoppiness. The Hellesbock, it is thought, was developed in the 19th century when other lighter beers such as the Pale Ale and Pilsner were created. The Maibock is considered a “fest” beer, produced for the Maifest. It is basically a seasonal Helles, and sometimes is a bit spicier. Hellesbocks and Maibocks are usually between 5.5-8%.

Eisbock: The Eisbock, or Ice Bock, is a badass Doppelbock that has been made in Bavaria for centuries. Simply enough, it is produced by freezing and concentrating a Bock.

The Eisbock legend is that it was made by accident in the Bavarian city of Kulmbach. Apparently, a young brewer was too tired to put a freshly brewed Bockbier barrel into a cellar after production and left it outside. However, the night turned cold and the Bock froze over night. Consequently, the barrel exploded as the frozen beer expanded. However, the brewers discovered that the alcohol had separated from the water and concentrated at the center of the barrel. The brewers were none too pleased with the young brewer for ruining the Bock, so they forced him to drink this concentrated liquid. He discovered, however, withh joy, that this concentrated liquid was the sweetest and most alcoholic beer he had tasted. Thus, the Eisbock was born!

The making of Eisbock.

Today, the Eisbock is made according to the accidental techniques  of the young brewer: a strong Bock is frozen and then strained to get rid of most of the water. The resulting beer concentrate makes for more of a spicy, fruitier beer. Most Eisbocks have an ABV of 8 to 9%, but some are over 12%.

Weizenbock: The “bock” in Weizenbock is deceptive: Weizenbocks, a stronger Hefeweizen, are actually top-fermented ales and not bottom-fermented lagers. Also, they are produced using wheat malt and not barley malt (hence the “weizen!”) The flavor profile is ester alcohol, spice, dark fruit, cloves (from the top-fermenting yeast), and a generally more complex malt character. They are usually 7-10% ABV. There are two stronger variations of the Weizenbock: the Weizendoppelbock (extremely malty) and the Weizeneisbock (maltier and sweeter, with a steep ABV at ~12%).

Prost!

So, let the celebration of spring begin! Pick up a Maibock, a Doppelbock…well, any and all Bocks, and help us enjoy the month of the Bock!

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